Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Hold My Beer and Watch This

With four games left to play in the regular season, the Colorado Buffaloes have dispatched with the formality of qualifying for bowl eligibility.  From here on out, the only question on the board is 'how far can they ride this beast'; or, as I'm calling it, the 'Hold my beer and watch this' run for the Roses.
At this point, there's no reason to doubt this team or their ability to achieve everything they covet. With three of the four games remaining scheduled for Folsom Field, and the other on the road against the worst team in the division (Arizona), their destiny is decidedly in their hands.  Regardless of how it plays out, it should be a fun journey.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the win over Stanford, how the rest of the Pac-12 fared, and a stunning last-second win for the Women's Soccer Team in Berkeley.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Quick Post: Goin' Bowlin'

Today, all of BuffNation is Andy Dufresne.  After nine years of foulness, we have crawled through the river of shit and come out clean on the other side.  Yes, Colorado Football is, once again, bowl eligible. Bask in the rain of freedom, my friends.

To honor the occasion, we need music, and there is only one choice.  It's a song in the marching band's repertoire that is only played in victory.  A re-imagining of the original CU Fight Song, 'Glory Colorado,' it oozes celebration, and is one of my favorite tunes ever scored.  It is, of course, 'Rejoice Colorado.'  Enjoy:

Friday, October 21, 2016

2016 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Stanford Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Way back in April, I took a trip to NorCal on some family business.  Not San Francisco, mind you, but the tiny burb of Chico, some three hours northeast of The City (Northern California, if you didn't know, is essentially endless).  What I found, I kind of liked.  Chico's a cool little college town, in many ways rather like Boulder, home to Chico State and a bunch of outdoors-types.  More importantly, it's also home to one of the biggest, most important craft breweries in the county -- the iconic Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.  Their imperial stout, Narwhal, is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.

I'll be honest, I'm not a huge fan of some of Sierra's more famous beers.  By this point, I've had so many of their classic Pale Ale's that I've lost a taste for it, and their newer stuff, like Otra Vez and Beer Camp, are big misses, for me.  Narwhal, however, is a whole different story.  I love this beast! A big, meaty imperial stout with character and life, it's one of the best of the style on shelves today. Rich and deep with flavor, this velvety smooth brew tastes of chocolate and espresso, with a pleasant mouth feel that is far from that motor oil/syrup style that can bog down lesser IPs.  It finishes creamy and clear, and there's even a note of hops, for which the brewery is famous for.  Oh, so good!

When I was at the brewery, they were pouring a barrel-aged version spiked with vanilla and orange peel, which tasted a whole lot like a chocolate orange. It was outstandingly good, beyond anything else I tasted while I was there.  As I understand it, it was only ever going to be available at the brewery, so, barring a trip to Chico, you're SOL.

Standard Narwhal, however, often finds its way out to Colorado (when in season), and can otherwise be ordered online.  If you find it, give it a try.  Sitting at 10.2% ABV, it'll keep you warm as we dip into November, and those tailgates start to get colder.  Their standard barrel-aged version is also distributed, and is even more deserving of your time and money.  Either way, if it says Narwhal on the bottle, you won't go wrong.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Cardinal!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 CU vs Stanford Football Teaser

One to go.  One more win and, regardless of what happens the rest of the year, the Buffs will finish the season at a bowl game. Sure, the carrot of bigger things beyond this milepost is enticing, but for a program nearly a decade on the outside of the cool kids club, the pedantic steps must be observed.

That's why the game this week is so important.  I don't want the specter of bowl eligibility to linger; just get it done, and move on to the cooler stuff at the end of the rainbow.  It's all in CU's hands, they just have to execute.


Hype Music for the Week: "Olive Tree" by Scale the Summit

So, let's talk about progressive metal. It can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but is generally characterized by three things: the extended run time of its songs, 'aggressive' guitar, and extreme musicianship. Regardless of how you define it, however, prog-metal is not for the feint of heart.  You have to be a special breed of geek to like this stuff, as I do, just as you have to be a special breed of geek to get into Stanford.

This track, by Texas group Scale the Summit, always strikes me as hopeful and inspiring; the kind of thing you should be listening to on the precipice of bowl eligibility.  It's also great fuel for putting words to paper, should you need a backbeat to come up with a 25,000 word basketball preview...

Anyways, enjoy!


Kickoff from venerable Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto is set for 1pm on Saturday.  For those going, the weather looks a little cool and cloudy, but otherwise fine.  For those stuck in Colorado watching, coverage can be found on *sigh* Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the bag...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: One win away...

What a wonderful Homecoming Weekend it was in Boulder.  I got to play my tuba a little, see some old friends, and watch a triumphant effort at Folsom.  Really, my only regret from Saturday was that I could not take in the annual open basketball scrimmage, held up at the CEC while I was otherwise preoccupied with alumni band business.  The Ralphie Report has a write-up for those interested, and everything I've heard indicates that it was a pretty decent showing for this stage of camp (though Tad, as ever, was unimpressed with the defense).

Looking forward, those of you who are season ticket holders should've already begun to receive your stubs for the coming year in the mail -- the surest sign yet that basketball season is almost upon us. Just 24 more days... this is getting serious! #RollTad


Today in the bag, I'm talking the win over Arizona State, how the rest of the Pac-12 fared on the gridiron, and the continued dominance of the soccer team.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - ASU Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

It being Homecoming Week, I feel no compulsion to leave the boundaries of Boulder proper to find a beer.  Instead, I'm heading a short ways up the Diag to 63rd St and the beautiful home of Avery Brewing.  There, they often find cause to release an enhanced version of their classic Mephistopheles imperial stout.  Bourbon barrel-aged with a heap of roasted coffee beans thrown in for fun, the resulting product, Tweak, is this week's game day beer-o-the-week.

O.G. Mephistopheles, named after demon of Faustian legend (ah, the Sun Devil association I was looking for), is a wonderful play on the imperial stout style, a remnant of the old 'Demons of Ale' series from the brewery.  If you haven't had it before, I would suggest it, as well.  By adding Ozo brand coffee beans to a bourbon-barrel soak, however, Avery takes the veteran brew up a notch. Regrettably first released under the name 'Meph Addict,' the re-brand has done this coffee stout well. No longer do I have to look aside the unfortunate allusion to drug use, I can just enjoy this unique beer for what it is.

I actually had a tasting of Tweak at last week's Great American Beer Festival, getting it poured straight from the barrel by the man himself, Adam Avery.  With a motor oil like color, it pours settled and confident into the glass with a sizable tan head.  Upon tasting, there's a decided note of chocolate/coffee, along with warmer bourbon and roasted coconut flavors.  The bourbon doesn't overpower, though, letting the complex suite of flavors flit around a bit. Overall, I would describe it as sweetly rich, like having a decadent slice of toffee chocolate cheesecake -- enough to be a meal unto itself. Indeed, at 17.5 ABV, just one 12oz bottle would be sufficient for anyone here.  Pour and let it open, consuming over an extended amount of time.

Really, the downside here is that you probably can't find Tweak on store shelves this weekend.  Avery plans on next releasing in November.  Not too long of a wait, though, and well worth it.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Sun Devils!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 CU vs ASU Football Teaser

OK, so this is a pretty damn big game.  Beyond just being Homecoming, when the Buffs and Sun Devils face off Saturday, they'll be playing for control of the Pac-12 South, as well. The winner, pending the Utah result against Oregon State, could have sole possession of first place and a tiebreaker in-hand over one of the other teams with a realistic shot of gaining the crown.  It's legitimately the biggest conference tilt featuring Colorado since the Barnett era.

So, with that in mind, can we all just agree to show up on time this weekend?  As BSN Denver's Ted Chalfen so eloquently wrote this week, BuffNation's Southern California-esque attitude of arriving to games well after kickoff is no longer acceptable.  If we're going to have a good team on the field, then we need to have a good fanbase in the stands, as well.  Make a point of it, and get to the stadium early.  Please.


Hype Music for the Week: "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

As is tradition, Homecoming Week comes replete with throwbacks to my collegiate career.  Released at the start of the winter semester of my senior year, 'Ridin'' from Chammillionaire was all over the place the entirety of 2006.  I am not ashamed to say it even found its way into my iPod... which, for you youngsters, was a kind of music playback device us old types used to use before our phones could just stream music for free. Enjoy!


Happy Homecoming Week!  Since CU hasn't won a homecoming affair since 2007 (against #3 Oklahoma, no less), it's high time #TheRise gives the returning alums a thrill.  Speaking of old people, if you're going to the game Saturday, look over behind the band, and you'll see yours truly plugging away on my tuba as part of the alumni festivities.  I apologize for my general ineptitude in advance.

Kickoff from beautiful Folsom Field is set for 6pm Saturday night.  Is there anything better than a night game in Folsom?  Oh, so much fun.  I expect the student section to be roiling with electricity. The forecast is clear and cool, so bring a jacket.  Coverage for those unable to attend will be on Pac-12 Network, because the nation still can't handle #TheRise.  The radio call will be on 850 KOA.

Click below for the teaser...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: A Setback in LA

I'm behind the 8-ball this week, what with Homecoming preparations, and all.  So, straight to the action!

Today in the bag, I'm talking the troubles with the Trojans, how the rest of the Pac-12 fared, and the seemingly unstoppable CU Women's Soccer Team.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - USC Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Before I get to the pick this week, a quick word on last week's.  I had selected Guinness, but, more importantly, a Guinness from Boulder drinking institution Conor O'Neill's, which was scheduled to close for good after last weekend.  That, however, is no longer the case, as the bar looks to re-open today.  This is fantastic news for Boulderites everywhere who love a straight-forward watering hole that knows how to pour a pint of the Black Stuff.  So, if you missed the 'final weekend,' you haven't completely missed your chance to re-connect with the old girl.  Head back to Conor's, and keep heading back, so we don't have to face this scare again.


In case you missed the revelry on Twitter last night, I hit up opening night of the 2016 Great America Beer Festival.  The annual affair, held down at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, is a right of passage for true beer freaks everywhere, bringing together hundreds of breweries and thousands of beers for consumption and consideration.  It's a fantastic event, and one I cannot recommend enough if you have any interest at all in the world of beer.

While wandering the hall last night, I was looking, specifically, for a beer to feature in this space.  I wanted something accessible to the Colorado market and theoretically comfortable in a tailgate setting. After a handful of 1 oz. pours, I finally found my winner.  Combining my love for all things hops and my appreciation of a good packaging, I settled on Hookiebobb.  That IPA from Crazy Mountain Brewery is this week's beer-o-the-week.
From: Instagram
Just look at that packaging! The full picture, which I posted on Twitter yesterday, is of a part-man, part-bison, part-moose, part-bear legendary creature that is surely my spirit animal incarnate. Hell, with such imagery, they could almost put gut-wrenching swill in the bottle, and I'd still find a way to enjoy it. Luckily, Hookiebobb is far better than that low bar, and is actually something worth your time.

Brewed by Crazy Mountain in Edwards, CO, the brew is a fun blend of hop-forward eccentricity. Floral and resin-pine hop notes all over the place, countered with some peppery-sweet malt behind it. While not the best IPA out there, it's still an interesting, playful attack on a very conventional style.  It comes in bottles or cans, and will set you more than right on a football Saturday, coming it at 6.7% ABV.  You should be able to find some in your local suds shop, should you be so inclined.  Enjoy!

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Trojans!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

2016 CU vs USC Football Teaser

This is where things start to get difficult.  Colorado Football has checked off all the boxes through five starts, but their success has elevated themselves into a position where only more is demanded. Games like this one, against a strong division foe seemingly down on their luck, are where division titles are born, and stand as the litmus test between good teams and great.  Time for #TheRise to step up, and make some real noise beyond just sliding into the national rankings.


Hype music for the week: "Ain't No Grave" by Johnny Cash

Four years ago I penned an article called "The game that killed the football program."  It was about the last game CU entered with a national ranking, back in 2005 against Iowa State, and stated, emphatically, that the result in Ames that year 'was the beginning of the end.'

Well, of course, #TheRise has proven that the grave dug by the Cyclones was not deep enough.  It took 11 years, but the Buffs have clawed their way back into the national spotlight; through hell and back, so to speak.  How better than to celebrate that resurrection than with this revival of a traditional gospel song by the Man in Black himself?  "When I hear that trumpet sound / I'm gonna rise right out of the ground / Ain't no grave / Can hold my body down." Enjoy!


Kickoff from historic Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles is set for 2pm on Saturday.  Should be warm and clear for those in attendance; bring some sun screen.  Those not making the trek out west can catch the action on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Click below for the teaser...

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tuesday Grab Bag: Ranked

Even considering the early (12:30pm) kickoff on Saturday, I was a little stunned to see Folsom half-filled (I'm being generous) at kickoff.  While the fans eventually showed up by the start of the second quarter, I felt that the team, in acknowledgement of their success over the first third of the season, deserved to run out of the tunnel to full stands of applause.

Then, as the Buffs took full control headed into halftime, the late-arriving crowd began to leave early. I guess I understand, with the result well in-hand and the sun shining, that the lure of greater-Boulder would draw a number of those in attendance out of the stadium. Further, football games are unbearably long, especially if its a blowout.  Still, after years of painful slogs against conference opponents, horrors too numerous to list here, I felt bolted to my seat in appreciation, and was surprised to see my fellow Buffs didn't feel the same.

Look, #TheRise is real, and deserves a fanbase equal to the matter at hand.  My appeal is simple: show up on time, and stay in your damn seats for a full game.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the win over Oregon State, how the rest of the Conference of Champions fared this weekend, and the start of basketball season.